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4 Untapped Podcast Audiences To Grow Your Show

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As an industry, we’re kind of obsessed with measuring podcast listener growth. Ask Google and you’ll get a crazy amount of studies and reports in your results to choose from. And yes, we even have our own podcast listener growth statistics page, too.

But how much do we actually do with this listener data? There’s a whole lot of “hmmm, that’s interesting” and carrying on as usual.

So are we leaving a lot of podcast growth opportunities on the table?

Recently, some untapped podcast audiences have emerged that are worth paying close attention to when thinking about your growth strategy.

When we talk about untapped podcast audiences, we likely mean one of two things. Either it’s a demographic that’s showing a lot of growth but hasn’t been capitalised on yet, or growth is stunted but the audience has a lot of potential. Either way, recognising these listener trends is how you identify opportunities to reach new audiences and grow your podcast.

So let’s dig into some largely untapped podcast listener audiences that are worth thinking about. Then, we’ll look at how you might reach them!

1. Kids

If you’re thinking podcasts can’t be that popular amongst kids, you’re wrong. A recent Edison report suggests as much as 49% of 6-12-year-olds in the US listen to podcasts. Another study found that, of those kids who listen to podcasts, nearly half listen every day.

Engaging young listeners is great for the whole industry, as nurturing listeners early can embed podcast listening into their world. If kids grow up listening to podcasts, they’ll likely become listeners for life.

68% of parents in the same Edison study said they listen to podcasts with their children. So in this sense, creating a podcast that appeals to children means it’s likely you’ll get double the engagement. If a kid likes your podcast, their parents will too.

It’s likely we’ll see the industry giving a lot more attention to kids’ podcasts in the near future, as studies are revealing a multitude of benefits. Podcasts have been reported to improve grades and enhance positivity and self-esteem among young people.

A Clinical Psychologist involved in this study said:

“The link between audio content and enhanced positivity, self-esteem, and academic performance is a call to action. It’s time we create content that nurtures, educates, and empowers our children.”

Kristin J. Carothers, Ph.D.

How to appeal more to this audience

While creating a podcast for children could be fun to try, you don’t necessarily have to create a kids’ podcast to appeal to kids.

We know that parents have a big impact on the podcast content their children listen to. Creating interesting, informative and funny content that’s child-friendly but not targeted specifically at kids could be the sweet spot you’re looking for.

So consider if there’s any way you could make your content more accessible and appealing to children under 12. For example, think about keeping your episodes short (under 20 mins). Using a clear but conversational tone and adopting story-telling techniques will help to keep young listeners (and their parents!) engaged.

2. Gen Z 

Your Gen Z listeners are those born between 1997 and 2012. So right now, they’re aged between 11 and 26.

Gen Z is absolutely worth paying more attention to for a whole number of reasons. In fact, we have an entire article on why you need to care more about your Gen Z listeners.

But in a nutshell: podcast listenership amongst Gen Z is growing, they’re more engaged than any other demographic and they are super receptive to podcast advertising. This makes this demographic gold dust for advertisers and for your podcast, too.

How to appeal more to a Gen Z audience

I’m not suggesting you change your podcast to cater to Gen Z. However, it’s worth thinking about how you can incorporate some factors into how you already run your podcast that might draw them in.

For example, studies suggest Gen Z engage most with shows where podcast hosts are facilitators rather than the single focus of attention. They’re interested in hearing true-life stories from the people who have experienced them. If you tend to be a one-man show, have you tried experimenting with other formats or interviewing guests for the odd episode?

How you promote your podcast will have a huge impact on whether you can reach a Gen Z audience, too.

While you might turn to friends or podcast charts when looking to discover new podcasts, Gen Z uses social media for this. A recent study by Edison revealed that short video clips on social media are the #1 way this generation find new podcasts to listen to. 80% specifically said they use TikTok for podcast discovery.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder that TikTok is officially moving into the podcasting space. And if all this chat about social media instantly gives you the dread, don’t worry. We have guides on how to promote your podcast on TikTok and on Instagram that make the whole process (relatively) painless.

3. Boomers

An increasing amount of data has emerged in recent years about the untapped potential of “Boomer” podcast listeners. 

“Boomers” is a term generally used to refer to the post-war “baby boomer” generation. This demographic is aged roughly 55+ (or specifically 57-75 right now in 2023).

A study released in April 2023 by Edison Research and NPR found that podcasting has a largely untapped audience in the Boomer demographic.

As a generation that’s only been exposed to listening technology as adults, they’re generally less familiar with podcasting. As a result, they listen to podcasts far less than other age brackets.

But the interesting thing is that 91% of Boomers own a smartphone. They have the tools, the time and the interest to listen – we just need to make it easier for them to access. Technology has moved too fast for many people of this generation, and they’re not motivated enough to “get into” a whole new medium.

For this reason, Sounds Profitable refers to this demographic (but specifically females of 55+) in a recent study as “The Persuadables”. The potential is there for serious growth, they say. We just need to grab the bull by the horns.

How to appeal more to a Boomer audience

Engaging Boomers is not about creating podcasts that will appeal more to them. There’s already so much great content out there that this demographic would love. It’s about closing the technical gap to make listening to podcasts easier and more accessible to them. They just need to be persuaded that podcasts are a medium worth getting into.

But how do you persuade a generation of FM radio listeners that podcasting is just as good (if not better) option for them?

By making your content available in places where Boomers will find it and making it as easy as possible to access.

So, for example, you want to promote your podcast on platforms like Facebook, which is the platform most popular with this demographic. Share individual episodes as posts that they can listen to easily just by clicking. Any links that divert them to a listening platform they don’t know are likely to result in a drop-off.

We also know that Boomers make up around 18% of YouTube users, suggesting this is a platform they’re comfortable using. Making your podcast available on YouTube could help you reach them with your content.

You might also try some offline advertising. Are there some magazines in your topic or niche, for example? Magazine ad space is often cheaper than you might think.

Education can be a big part of reaching older listeners, so creating a guide on how to subscribe or follow a podcast is a great idea, too. You could go as far as to answer some frequently asked questions (“Do podcasts cost to listen to?” is one) and create a short video showing them how to get new episodes on their phone.

4. Non-English Speakers

A study published by Rephonic last year showed that English and Indonesian language podcasts are way overrepresented. By this, we mean that the number of podcasts relative to the number of native listeners is really high. In other words, it’s much harder to stand out with a podcast in English or Indonesian as there’s a lot of competition.

On the other hand, podcasts in languages like Japanese, Russian and Korean are extremely underrepresented. This means there’s a huge opportunity to capitalise on these untapped podcast audiences interested in this kind of audio but don’t have access to much content in their native language.

How to appeal to more non-English audiences

Don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest you start learning Russian so you can grow your audience over there.

Thanks to the power of AI, there’s an increasing amount of podcasting technology that’s emerging that can translate your podcast into multiple languages for you.

For example, Spotify just announced it’s testing a voice translation for podcasters technology that can auto-translate your podcast into multiple different languages. And, as the technology uses voice cloning, this means your podcast will still be available in your original voice, too. This was one of the predictions we made about the future of AI in podcasting. Just a few months later, it’s already rolling out.

Opportunities for Growth

There are a lot of people out there who don’t listen to your podcast. Some might see that as a negative; others see it as an opportunity.

If you have an idea for a new podcast that appeals to one of these untapped audiences, our free AI-powered Showplanner tool will help you come up with a name, trailer and entire launch plan in minutes.  

But, remember, you don’t need to come up with an entirely new podcast to reach new people. Sometimes, a few tweaks and a little creativity can help get your show in front of those who never even knew it existed. In our ultimate guide to podcast promotion, you’ll find a whole bunch of tips and strategies to test out. Good luck!

podcasters gathering around a big bag of money

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